On May 12, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed an updated National Security Strategy. A multi-page document describes the current situation, threats and challenges, as well as the basic methods of ensuring national security. A prominent place in the new Strategy is Russia. This time, our country is considered one of the main threats to Polish security.
The most interesting references to Russia and its policies are contained in the chapter of the Strategy entitled “Security Environment” (“Security Environment” in the English version). Noting the changes in the strategic situation and the complication of the military-political situation in the international arena, the authors of the Strategy proceed to expose the main threat.
The greatest threat to Poland’s security is called the Russian "neo-imperial policy pursued by military force." The “aggression” against Georgia and Ukraine, as well as the “annexation” of Crimea violated the basic principles of international law and undermined the foundations of European security.
Russia is actively developing its offensive potential in the western strategic direction. In the Kaliningrad region and in the Baltic, zones of restriction and prohibition of access and maneuver are created and expanded (A2 / AD). Exercises are being conducted, the scenario of which involves the deployment of large groups, a war with NATO members and even the use of nuclear weapons.
Modern Russian air defense systems are one of the foundations of A2 / AD systems. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation / mil.ru
They also see a threat in Russia’s use of the “hybrid war” methods, which could provoke a full-fledged conflict. A full range of non-military means is used that can destabilize the structures of foreign countries and even create disagreements between the allies. The authors of the Strategy suggest that Russia will continue to undermine the international order, wanting to restore its spheres of influence.
Russian politics also affects global issues. The Polish Strategy marks a growing strategic rivalry between major powers. The confrontation between the United States, Russia and China affects the entire international political system.
It is noted that the energy sector is critical to Poland’s security. However, there are problems directly related to Russia. A significant part of Central Europe and the Balkan region receives gas and oil mainly from Russian suppliers. New international projects, such as Nord Stream-2, can strengthen the dependence of European states on Russian raw materials.
Russian Tanks in training, another cause for concern. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation / mil.ru
All this creates new risks. Russia can use energy supplies as an additional tool for pressure on foreign countries. This must be taken into account when planning - and take action in advance.
At the same time, the authors of the Strategy acknowledge that the state of the Polish energy infrastructure leaves much to be desired. Further development of electric networks, gas industry facilities, etc. is necessary. The existing increase in the capacity of oil and gas storage facilities is considered insufficient. With all this, Polish energy should remain competitive and meet the requirements of the European Union.
The National Security Strategy includes four “pillars” (Pillar) - these chapters describe the specific measures and methods necessary to address current challenges. It is curious that in all four chapters Russia is directly mentioned only twice, while other sections and paragraphs are devoted to other countries or other problems. Compared to previous chapters, all this looks very interesting.
The Pillar II chapter is dedicated to Poland’s place in the international security system. Its first section contains the goals and objectives of Polish politics within the framework of NATO and the European Union. Paragraph 1.8 of this section describes the strategy for Russia.
Far aviation The Russian Aerospace Forces are one of the main threats to NATO. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation / mil.ru
It is proposed to use the "double policy" implemented in the framework of NATO in relations with our country. This implies strengthening the defense in order to deter possible aggression - while maintaining readiness for a mutually beneficial dialogue.
The last direct mention of Russia is in Pillar 4 - Social and Economic Development. Environment Protection ”(“ Social and economic projects, environmental protection ”). Section 4, “energy security” includes clause 4.4 on cooperation with the Russian side.
This item offers a fairly tough measure. All diplomatic, legal and administrative efforts are required to stop the construction of new pipelines, etc. infrastructure facilities. This requirement is due to the fact that such construction projects increase Central Europe’s dependence on Russian raw materials - and this becomes an instrument of pressure.
The rest of the measures described in the four chapters affect issues of domestic politics and the economy or relations with third countries. All of them are aimed at solving urgent and expected problems of various kinds that impede the further development of Poland as an independent country and a participant in various organizations.
Polish tankers at Strong Europe Tank Challenge 18. Photo by Wikimedia Commons
In recent years
The previous version of the National Security Strategy was adopted in 2014, shortly after the well-known events. In that document, Russia and its policies were not called the main threat, but pointed to possible risks. In particular, Poland’s security was directly linked to the relations between Russia and the United States. Risk factors included events around the Crimea and Ukraine.
Over the years, the political situation in the region has changed, and Poland has revised its Defense Strategy. In the context of relations with Russia, the wording has changed in the direction of tightening. Official intentions to continue fruitful cooperation within the EU and NATO, including against "Russian aggression" they remained in their previous form or intensified.
In general, the new Strategy speaks for itself. Poland is now openly talking about the perception of Russia as the main threat. The course towards improving relations between countries can be taken only if there are certain benefits for themselves - and not necessarily for the Russian side.
It is well known that over the past few decades, official Warsaw has preferred to move away from Moscow and make friends with Washington. Many tactics and decisions of the Polish leadership are determined precisely by these features of international relations. The next result of such a policy was the new National Security Strategy.
Polish paratroopers at a joint NATO exercise. US Department of Defense Photos
In recent years, Poland’s main foreign ally, represented by the United States, has been very tough on Russia. Warsaw agrees with him, incl. by changing key documents in the field of state security.
Campaigning on the threats from Russia helps to improve relations with foreign partners in NATO and the EU, often receiving certain benefits from this. In addition, such topics work well at the local level among their own Polish voters.
It should be noted that the “Russian threat” is beneficial not only from a political point of view. It turns out to be a convenient reason for increasing the military budget, which is very pleasing to the Ministry of Defense and related structures. Salaries are increasing, spending on purchases is growing, etc. This clearly shows both corporate and personal interest.
Polish machine gunner. Wikimedia Commons Photos
This situation is also in the hands of suppliers of military products, including American. Over the past few years, Warsaw and Washington have agreed to sell anti-aircraft systems, combat aircraft, troop control equipment, etc. totaling billions of dollars. The appearance of such orders was made possible due to a number of factors, and one of the main ones is the notorious Russian threat. Local manufacturers of weapons and equipment do not stand aside.
At present, the Polish authorities are interested in cooperation with the United States, other NATO countries and the EU - for political, economic, military and other reasons. Interaction with Russia is not a priority, since it does not promise the same benefits. At the same time, friendship with some large countries virtually eliminates good relations with others. Such features of foreign policy can even be enshrined in the National Security Strategy.
The new Polish position with regard to our country is not a surprise. The processes leading to such consequences have been observed for several years, and the new Strategy is quite expected. Moreover, the Polish document is hardly worth considering as dangerous for the two countries, although it does not bear any benefit.
In general, Russia is interested in mutually beneficial cooperation with Poland, as well as with other NATO or EU countries. However, at present, such potential partners prefer to be friends with the United States, since it is trite profitable. Perhaps in the future the situation will change, and foreign countries will like to cooperate with Russia more. But so far the situation is different - and our country is becoming the "main threat" for Poland.